By Sarauniya G Usman
Ahead of the 2019 general elections,Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room (NCSSR), called on INEC to intensify the training of the different cadres of its staff to enhance their understanding of election duties and increase their confidence and ability to respond to election day challenges.
According Situation Room, There’s needs for more improvement in the placements of voting cubicles as well as modifications to its present configuration in order to protect the secrecy of the ballot and curtail vote buying. Greater efforts to curb vote buying should be introduced to apprehend and prosecute offenders as a disincentive and deterrent to all.
Worried on collation of results of the Osun State Governorship election conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Situation Room expressed concerned that the process of collation is delayed and appears to happen mostly at night when the political parties, candidates, Observers and
Noting that other election stakeholders may have depleted away from observation of the process, especially with fears of insecurity.
“This trend needs to change and INEC should consider an improvement and innovation in its processes that will enable the collation of results in as much of daylight as possible and thus reduce night time election activities”.
“INEC’s electronic collation of results has also come up for more queries. In the last several elections, INEC has stated that its e-collation of results is at test phase”.
Situation Room calls on INEC to open up its e-collation system to independent elect observers, including Situation Room, as well as other stakeholders in the electoral process to create an understanding of this aspect of the election process and win support for its use. This will eliminate the present suspicion that now clouds the use of the said e-collation system.
To further increase the credibility of election results, INEC will need to return to its previous practice of immediate publication of polling unit election results and indeed all of the comprehensive details of collated results, including the Form EC60E, on itswebsite and to be accessible to all.
Situation Room also calls on INEC to ensure that its announcement of the introduction of Braille for voting is made operational across the country and that all PWDs are able to vote during elections.
Political parties should on their part, escalate the seriousness with which they take elections. Political parties should train trusted party agents and improve their quality and ability to effectively monitor all stages of the electoral processes.